Wow... this is my kind of meal! I absolutely loved this Peach and Honeydew Salad with Prosciutto. In addition to this salad, I roasted chicken breasts and seared a large pan of green beans from my garden. I, however, didn't eat any of that. I started out with this salad and ended with this salad. And when it was gone, I was very sorry I didn't have more. I don't purchase honeydew often -- usually cantaloupe instead. I'm now craving it; along with peaches...
Next time, it will be only this salad. A very large salad. And there will be baguettes with French salted butter... perfect! Make it now. It's a summer salad.
• recipe (adapted) from Chef Andy Glover of Mission Estate Winery
• One 1 1/2-pound honeydew melon -- seeded, peeled, and thinly sliced
• 1 ripe peach, thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
• 2 tablespoons chopped basil
• 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, small cubes
• 8 thin slices of prosciutto (2 ounces)
1. Arrange the honeydew melon and peach slices on a platter. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scatter the basil and fresh mozzarella over the fruit; drape the slices of prosciutto over the top. ENJOY
TAKE a LOOK:
This Peach, Prosciutto & Fresh Ricotta Crostini was such a sweet surprise. The combination of peaches and prosciutto is always a winner, but the homemade fresh ricotta, spread onto my grilled baguette slices, was the real star of this appetizer.
A couple of weeks ago I purchased fresh ricotta for the first time ever. It was baked and served with peas from my garden (recipe HERE). A comment by a reader suggested that I try making my own ricotta. I make my own Crème Fraîche, which is easy and a huge cost saver, and decided this was the time to make the ricotta as well, for the same reasons. I was blown away by the flavor! My homemade ricotta was so superior to the expensive fresh ricotta I purchased previously -- I just wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. In fact, it had such a creamy texture and sweet taste, my husband said this crostini could pass as dessert.
Taking the time to make the ricotta, in addition to using fresh, flavorful peaches and an excellent bread for a base makes all the difference. I bake my own baguettes weekly using a heritage flour from Sunrise Flour Mill in North Branch, Minnesota. This organic flour has taken my breads to another level and it's all I use now in my baking. But don't feel like you need to make the bread for this appetizer. The recipe suggests a ciabatta -- purchase a good, flavorful, hand-crafted bread.
HOMEMADE FRESH RICOTTA
• recipe from Ina Garten, adapted
• 4 cups whole milk (preferably organic)
• 2 cups heavy cream (preferably organic)
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt
• 3 tablespoons good quality white wine vinegar
1. Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with cold water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
2. Combine the milk and cream in a deep stainless steel or enameled pot (when at a boil, the milk and cream can overflow if the pot isn't deep enough). Stir in the salt. Bring liquids to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow mixture to set for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
3. Slowly pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that accumulates in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta will be ( I went for the longer drain time). Transfer the ricotta to a bowl or plate and discard the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. (I flipped my ricotta onto a large plate and peeled off the cheesecloth). Use immediately or cover with plastic and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep, refrigerated, for 4 to 5 days.
PEACH, PROSCIUTTO & FRESH RICOTTA CROSTINI
• recipe Bon Appetit | June 2011, adapted
• 12 slices good quality baguette, sliced at an angle to provide length, or ciabetta bread
• Extra-Virgin olive oil for brushing
• 1 ripe peach
• Fresh ricotta
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 6 thin slices of prosciutto or speck
• Honey for drizzling
• Fresh thyme leaves for sprinkling
1. Lightly brush the bread slices with olive oil. Grill until lightly toasted.
2. Thinly slice the peach. Instead of halving and pitting the peach, I will hold the peach and make slices down to the stone. They should drop out nicely.
3. Spread about 1 tablespoon (or more!) of the fresh ricotta onto each toast. Cut prosciutto slices into lengthwise halves and drape over ricotta on each slice of bread. Drizzle with honey and top with 2 peach slices. Scatter some fresh thyme leaves over the top.
TAKE a LOOK:
Aside from the heirloom tomatoes in my vegetable garden, peas have become my favorite crop. I planted English shelling peas for the first time last year and this spring doubled the amount with half climbing peas, half bush. When I was a little girl, I would sit in the middle of my aunt's pea patch (and it was huge), shelling pea after pea, eating all the contents and saving none.
Last year I made pea risotto over and over; sometimes with prosciutto, sometimes using bacon. This time around, I'm stuck on Burrata with Speck, Peas, and Mint. I found Nancy Silverton's recipe for this in the cookbook, Harvest to Heat by Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer. I have checked this book from the library so often, my husband is saying... Just buy it!
I'm loving speck, an air-dried ham from northern Italy, and may substitute it for prosciutto from now on. My understanding is, both prosciutto and speck are salt cured, but speck is also smoked. And... there is less fat on the slices!
The combination of sweet peas, burrata, and speck are fantastic. I'm hoping the harvesting of peas from my garden continues for a long while. I need to make this (often) a few more times.
• 1 1/2 cups fresh peas
• 1/2 cup mint leaves, julienned
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 8 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 pound speck (about 16 slices)
• 1 pound fresh burrata, cut into 8 slices
1. Fill a small saucepan with cold water and place over medium-high heat. Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes. Drain peas in a mesh strainer and place under cold running water to cool. Shake strainer to remove as much water from peas as possible.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the peas, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, 4 tablespoons of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix ingredients until thoroughly combined.
3. Arrange 4 slices of speck in a spoke pattern onto 4 plates. Place 2 slices of burrata in the center of each plate of speck.
4. Divide and scoop the pea mixture over the burrata. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Parmigiano evenly over the top of each plate.
TAKE a LOOK:
In my early twenties, I worked at a gourmet kitchen store with a woman who had just tasted olive oil for the first time on a trip to Greece. She told me she didn't like it at all. The flavor was "overwhelmingly strong", and emphasized the nastiness through a hard squint of her eyes. That was back in the early '70s, and olive oil wasn't a mainstream ingredient yet... at least at the Kansas City grocery stores I frequented and within my group of friends. I had never used olive oil, and after my co-worker's critique wasn't in any hurry to do so. The same imprint was made on my brain at some point to dislike Brussels Sprouts. It's a vegetable I don't remember my mother ever making. And hearing negative comments from others about Brussels Sprouts, I decided I probably would not care for this little cruciferous vegetable myself. No need to even try them. Fortunately, I have learned and changed much over the years. I don't let people influence me anymore. At least when it comes to food.
I finally cooked Brussels Sprouts for the first time about seven years ago. Since then, it's grown into a full-blown love affair. When I found this recipe for Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Sausage Bread Crumbs, I made it immediately. Then I made it again, and again one more time, all in the span of two weeks. I absolutely love this pasta dish. The squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before serving is the crowning jewel. My husband, unfortunately, doesn't share my ability or desire to eat the same foods over and over again. What's up with that? He likes a dish, but is then ready to move on to something else. I, on the other hand, would be quite satisfied having this pasta once a week (at least).
+ adapted recipe from Food & Wine
recipe serves 4
• 1/2 pound spaghetti
• 1 pound Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and sliced
• 1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
• 2 to 3 scallion, white and light green parts sliced thin
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• Good quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing
• Fresh lemon juice
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a large pinch of salt and cook the pasta until al dente.
2. In the meantime... warm the olive oil in a medium sauté pan. Add the pork sausage and Brussels Sprouts to the pan. Over medium heat, cook the mixture until the the pork sausage is cooked through and beginning to brown. Add the panko and cook until crisp. Stir in the sliced scallion and season to taste with salt and freshly-ground pepper.
3. Drain the spaghetti and divide between four bowls. Drizzle each with some extra-virgin olive oil and top with the Brussels Sprouts and Sausage Breadcrumb mixture. Finish with a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice and serve.
TAKE a LOOK:
Hardly a day goes by without peaches playing a starring role in one of our meals. I loved this salad and thought the leftovers the next day were as good if not better. Had there been goat cheese or some Maytag Blue in my refrigerator that day, I would have crumbled some over the top of the salad... yum!
+ adapted -- recipe by Linton Hopkins | Food & Wine, July 2012
• 1/8 cup mayonnaise
• 1/8 cup sour cream
• 1/8 cup buttermilk
• 1 tablespoon fresh mint
• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
• 1 tablespoon fresh chives
• 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 pound thick-slice bacon
• 1/8 cup brown sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 1/2 pounds Vidalia or other sweet onions cut into 1-inch slabs
• Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
• 2 large, ripe peaches, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
• Arugula, for serving
1. PREHEAT OVEN to 325˚F.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the sour cream, buttermilk, mint, parsley, chives and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
3. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the bacon slices on the sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cayenne. Bake for about 25 minutes, until caramelized (the bacon will crisp as it cools). Cut the bacon into bite-size pieces.
4. Meanwhile, light a grill. Brush the onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until softened and browned. Separate the onions into rings. Brush the peaches with olive oil and grill over moderately high heat until tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
5. In a large bowl, toss the onions with the peaches and bacon. Add the buttermilk dressing and toss to coat. Serve right away... But like I said, it's really good the next day!